Thursday, October 15, 2015

a unique experience

Yesterday turned out to be a really special day.   Pam and John picked us up and we went in search of something none of us had ever seen before.   The Lake Crowley Columns are not a commonly visited site and not many people take the time to find them.     Pam had chatted up the Visitor's Center guy and he gave them a customized google earth map to guide us to this natural wonder.

It involved a fairly smooth dirt road that took us east off 395, over the earthen dam that holds Crowley Lake and on to a more rutted gravel road with an ascending section filled with what looked like moguls.    I know there is a term for this kind of road, but I don't know what it is!

John and Dave got out to see which was the best way to negotiate the hill and they made the right decision.   John's jeep handled the bumps and dips easily and we continued on to the end of the track.

We left the jeep and walked to what looked like the edge of a cliff.   Below us was what we came how to get there!

We didn't expect this excursion to be a hike so we weren't exactly prepared for a climb.     We had no hiking poles to help my sometimes wonky knee so John offered me his putter (golf bag was still in the car from yesterday) to lean on and it worked like a charm.  Dave and I just had our water sandals on, no socks or boots, so we just made do....we needed to get down there!

This way John!

Pam, John and Dave all had suggestions, but in the end we followed John's zig zag path to the beach below.   We were all so anxious to explore that the descent seemed to take no time at all.

We marked our entry point with what we hand on hand.....Pam found an old piece of galvanized steel and I planted John's putter.    We didn't want to get so involved in our explorations that we forgot where we left the jeep!    We couldn't see it from the beach, it was over the crest of the hill above.

We were hungry and didn't want to carry our little cooler so, after a quick trip inside one of the formations, we sat on some white rocks under a high overhang and had lunch.

Because the level of the lake has dropped in the last few years, we are able to see and touch these fabulous caves and columns carved into the soft pumice cliffs on the southeastern shore of Crowley Lake.

We saw or heard no one for the entire time, from the moment we turned onto the dirt road until we joined 395 for our trip home.    It made me feel like we were the first people discovering an ancient Moroccan city.

We were like little kids, oooohing and ahhhhhing at every turn.   How far should we walk?   Look at that!    Look at those!    How can these shapes be real? What kind of animal made that scat?   Look at these stones on the beach.....what are these indentations on the shoreline cool is this!

How far can we go?

strong man or light rock?

Look how light these rocks are!    Look at this piece of obsidian,  how can these little flowers grow in this dry rocky sand?    Why are these rocks perfect discs?  How deep is this cave, are those bats?  I'm taking this rock home, will you carry it?  See how delicate this shell is!

Mrs. Eastman concentrates on her subject

Only one or two more pictures, I promise.

Ok, I'm done.....

We were all exhausted by the time we finished our exploration and the climb back up to the jeep.       Not too exhausted, however, to have a slow but very delicious dinner at the Thai restaurant in the little Bishop airport.

Quite a day.


  1. I love it when you Travel! This was the most outstanding blog post ever! Fascinating subject, challenging journey to get there, a little mystery unknown to so many and pictures so real that I felt I was there exploring too.

    And what was that animal in the one pix halfway into the blog? Dead, right?

  2. Wow, that truly is amazing. How fortunate you all got to experience it!

  3. That is an amazing sight! If we ever get enough rain in CA will we still be able to see this place?!?!?